Monday, 1 August 2016

The Pre-Civil War Spanish Military
The Organic Divisions

With the loss of much of the remainder of Spain's overseas possessions after the Spanish-American War and the recruitment of both volunteers and indigenous personnel for Spain's Moroccan possessions, the incoming Republican Government of 1931 did not see the need for a large army. After the end of the Great War and the establishment of the League of Nations, the general feeling was that war was largely a thing of the past. Spain's needs therefore were for an army sufficient to preserve its sovereignty against any likely aggressor, or to reinforce its Moroccan garrison. Given that France and Portugal were Spain's neighbours there seemed little likelihood of a war in the foreseeable future. 

The Army was a political entity within the Spanish state and the Republic's government was only too aware that any opposition to its policies would likely be expressed through a military coup; one had already been attempted in 1930 and the politicisation of the Army made another always a possibility. The Asturias Rebellion of 1934 did however highlight the relative ineffectiveness of the Peninsular Army and it required troops from Morocco to support the security services in suppressing that revolt. Nevertheless a large army was costly and by keeping its numbers reduced, as well retiring or posting particularly vociferous right-wing officers to far-flung postings, it was hoped the risk would be reduced.

The Army was subsequently reduced in size and the remnants re-constituted as eight 'Organic Infantry Divisions', each with their own military district. Provincial capitals became the home of the divisional headquarters, with the larger municipalities in the district becoming the location of brigade headquarters. Two floating army corps headquarters were established, to which whatever elements were required would be attached in time of war. Morocco got its own additional corps headquarters, which administered the operation of the various elements garrisoning Spanish Morocco and the Spanish Sahara.

Each of the divisions essentially followed the same format. There were two infantry brigades (three on mobilisation), each of two infantry regiments of two battalions (three on the wartime schedule, the third being a 'depot' battalion at cadre strength in peace time). An artillery brigade consisting of two light artillery regiments (one with 75mm guns and one with 105mm guns, each with 36 guns) and an engineer battalion, along with supply and other support services, rounded out each division.

Some divisions (2nd, 3rd, 5th & 7th) also boasted a cavalry regiment for reconnaissance, while others had a machine gun battalion (2nd, 3rd, 4th & 7th), an anti-aircraft group (1st & 5th), or a heavy artillery regiment (2nd, 4th, 6th & 7th).



1st Division (Madrid)

Divisional Troops
  • 1st Engineer  Battalion (Campamento).
  • 1st Light Artillery Regiment (Getafe).
  • 2nd Light Artillery Regiment (Vicálvaro).
  • 1st Anti-Aircraft Group (Madrid).
  • School of Automobile Heavy Artillery (Madrid).
1st Brigade (Madrid)
  • 1st Regiment 'Wad Ras'.
  • 2nd Regiment 'León'.
2nd Brigade (Badajoz)
  • 3rd Regiment 'Castilla'.
  • 4th Regiment 'Cavadonga'.

2nd Division (Seville)

Divisional Troops
  • 7th Cavalry Regiment 'Taxdir' (Sevilla).
  • 2nd Engineer  Battalion (Sevilla).
  • 2nd Machine Gun Battalion (Almeria).
  • 3rd Light Artillery Regiment (Sevilla).
  • 4th Light Artillery Regiment (Granada).
  • 1st Heavy Artillery Regiment (Cordoba).
3rd Brigade (Sevilla)
  • 5th Regiment 'Lepanto' (Granada).
  • 6th Regiment 'Granada' (Sevilla).
4th Brigade (Granada)
  • 7th Regiment 'Pavía' (Algeciras).
  • 8th Regiment 'Vitoria' (Málaga).

3rd Division (Valencia)

Divisional Troops
  • 8th Cavalry Regiment 'Lusitania' (Valencia).
  • 3rd Engineer  Battalion (Paterna).
  • 3rd Machine Gun Battalion (Castellon).
  • 5th Light Artillery Regiment (Valencia).
  • 6th Light Artillery Regiment (Murcia).
5th Brigade (Valencia)
  • 9th Regiment 'Otumba' (Valencia).
  • 10th Regiment 'Guadalajara' (Valencia).
6th Brigade (Alicante)
  • 11th Regiment 'Tarifa' (Alicante).
  • 12th Regiment 'Viscaya' (Alcoy).

4th Division (Barcelona)

Divisional Troops
  • 4th Engineer  Battalion (Barcelona).
  • 4th Machine Gun Battalion (Manresa).
  • 7th Light Artillery Regiment (Barcelona).
  • 8th Light Artillery Regiment (Mataró).
  • 2nd Heavy Artillery Regiment (Gerona).
7th Brigade (Barcelona)
  • 13th Regiment 'Badajoz' (Barcelona).
  • 14th Regiment 'Alcántara' (Barcelona).
8th Brigade (Lerida)
  • 15th Regiment 'Almansa' (Tarragona).
  • 16th Regiment 'Albuera' (Lerida).

5th Division (Zaragoza)

Divisional Troops
  • 9th Cavalry Regiment 'Castillejos' (Zaragoza).
  • 5th Engineer  Battalion (Zaragoza).
  • 9th Light Artillery Regiment (Zaragoza).
  • 10th Light Artillery Regiment (Calatayud).
  • 2nd Anti-Aircraft Group (Zaragoza).
  • 2nd Light Combat Car Regiment (Zaragoza).
9th Brigade (Zaragoza)
  • 17th Regiment 'Aragón' (Zaragoza).
  • 18th Regiment 'Gerona' (Zaragoza).
10th Brigade (Huesca)
  • 19th Regiment 'Galicia' (Jaca).
  • 20th Regiment 'Valladolid' (Huesca).

6th Division (Burgos)

Divisional Troops
  • 6th Engineer  Battalion (San Sebastián).
  • 11th Light Artillery Regiment (Burgos).
  • 12th Light Artillery Regiment (Logroño).
  • 3rd Heavy Artillery Regiment (San Sebastian).
11th Brigade (Burgos)
  • 21st Regiment 'Valencia' (Santander).
  • 22nd Regiment 'San Marcial' (Burgos).
12th Brigade (Pamplona)
  • 23rd Regiment 'América' (Pamplona).
  • 24th Regiment 'Bailén' (Logroño).

7th Division (Valladolid)

Divisional Troops
  • 10th Cavalry Regiment 'Farnesio' (Valladolid).
  • 7th Engineer  Battalion (Salamanca).
  • 7th Machine Gun Battalion (Plasencia).
  • 13th Light Artillery Regiment (Segovia).
  • 14th Light Artillery Regiment (Valladolid).
  • 4th Heavy Artillery Regiment (Medina).
13th Brigade (Valladolid)
  • 25th Regiment 'San Quintín' (Valladolid).
  • 26th Regiment 'Toledo' (Zamora).
14th Brigade (Salamanca)
  • 27th Regiment 'Argel' (Caceres).
  • 28th Regiment 'La Victoria' (Salamanca).

8th Division (La Coruña)  

Divisional Troops
  • 8th Engineer Battalion (Gijón).
  • 15th Light Artillery Regiment (Pontevedra).
  • 16th Light Artillery Regiment (Santiago).
15th Brigade (La Coruña)
  • 29th Regiment 'Zamora' (La Coruña).
  • 30th Regiment 'Zaragoza' (Lugo).
16th Brigade (León)
  • 31st Regiment 'Burgos' (León).

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